I have some BREAKING NEWS
This urgent fax has just been sent out to the world.
My sources are telling me that in light of the re-ignition of the Sixers/Celtics rivalry, LarBrd33 is coming out of CelticsBlog retirement on a temporary 60 day contract.
I had visions of this day. I had ventured beyond the wall and witnessed the looming threat in my dreams. My warnings were ridiculed and mocked. Proclamations of playoffs and fear-mongering of future phenoms were met with laughter. Too risky, they said. A “losing culture”. The ends would not justify the means, they smirked. Too injured…
And yet, here we are on the precipice of a renewed rivalry. They bellow outside our gates sooner than anyone expected. The Giant and the Gifted. Two young Superstars and a powerful supporting cast. The Sixers have risen.
I warned of this.
They have won 20 of their last 21 games. They have ripped through the league laying waste to everything in their path. Since January 1, 2018, they have the best record in the entire Eastern Conference (35-11). Embiid and Ben Simmons were both Top 15 players statistically this season. Vegas now has the 76ers as favorites to win the East. As Bill Simmons said on his recent podcast, they are by far the most talented team in the Conference.
Meanwhile, our hobbled team had only been the 5th best team in the East since January. With much ado made of our culture, continuity and experience, we ironically flipped the entire roster over the Summer and in the past two games relied heavily on 4 young players with essentially no relevant playoff experience prior to the series. With much ado made of Philly’s injury concerns, ironically our two best players (Hayward and Kyrie) played less games combined than Joel Embiid. In your hubris, many of you neglected to realize that no team is immune to the wicked whimsy of Mother Basketball.
When our two teams both set out to tank in 2013-14, I knew this was a possibility. It’s been less than 5 years since Philly handed over the reigns to Sam Hinkie and signed off on his multi-year “process”. His first significant trade trade (moving Jrue Holiday) can now be seen for the resounding success it was. In return, they have Super Dario Saric, Richaun Holmes, multiple 2nd round picks and the restored rights to a 1st round pick they owed Orlando. More importantly, the move (punting on the present for long-term assets) put them in a position to bottom out for Joel Embiid in the 2014 Draft. Three straight years of tanking net them prizes of Embiid (2014), Okafor (2015) and Simmons (2016). Statistically, having three Top 6 picks gave them an 83.5% chance of netting an all-star. They struck gold on 2 out of 3. Hinkie’s plan fulfilled. He became a martyr in death, but his legacy remains.
Now, 5 years into his 3-5 year plan, the Sixers have accomplished something they had only done once since 1990 (and twice in the past 30 years) - win 50+ games. While teams like the Knicks, Nuggests, Lakers, Magic, Suns and Kings continue to suffer through 5+ year playoff droughts, the Sixers have returned triumphantly. While teams like the Pistons, Timberwolves, Kings, Hornets and Bucks have gone over a decade without a playoff series win, the Goliath 76ers made quick work of their 1st round opponent.
How each team got to this point will not be remembered.
The Sixers have returned. They are mighty. My fears have been justified.
Chamberlain vs Russell. Dr. J vs Bird. Our glorious history of hate coloring the latest chapter in this blood feud. Tomorrow, we embark on Round 1 of the modern 76ers/Celtics rivalry. Our young upstart Celtics, beaten, bruised, and severely undermanned, could very well be embarrassed by this budding juggernaut. It’s all-hands on deck, Gentlemen. And so, I have temporarily returned to join you in this great fight. You can never count out a team built on Celtic pride. We will not go quietly. We will not quit. We will give Philadelphia Hell.
And yes, I realize I am potentially tarnishing my own glorious legacy by returning ala-Wizards era Jordan. As you may know, I retired out on top with a perfectly fitting 1776 Tommy Points:
But alas, the rebirth of this rivalry is too much to ignore. I’m sure Eddie and the rest of my fans have many questions for me. What’s it like being so right? How does it feel to be a viral sensation to the thousands and thoouuusands of Redditors around the world? How do I feel about the insufferably slow barren wasteland this forum became in absence of my luminous home dingers? - etc… and I’d be happy to answer your queries in good time.
Bring on Philly/Boston. Round 1 may very well go to the 76ers. Assuming Hayward and Kyrie come back next season, we might strike back. Granted, Philly has plentiful trade assets and tons of cap space to potentially add two superstars this Summer to an already dominant looking young team. It's going to be very interesting to see where this goes.